Was That The Heisman Trophy Winner?

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: January 1, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA — Let’s see 17 of 33 for 154 yards. Not exactly the kind of numbers you would expect from a Heisman Trophy winner going into a bowl game against an unranked team.

Not expected, but those were the numbers for Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow on New Year’s day at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando sending the much maligned Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr out with a big victory in his final game as coach 41-35.

Now Tebow did score three touchdowns, but in watching the game, you never felt like he had the kind of control or dominance a Heisman Trophy winner would have in a game and bowl that was really only meaningful to the Universities and their fans and alumni.

On the flip side of the Heisman Trophy coin, Darren McFadden, stellar running back for Arkansas and Heisman Trophy runner-up, was less than spectacular, although he did rush for 105 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown in a 38-7 rout against No. 6 Missouri in the Cotton Bowl.

Most of the yards really came after Missouri took complete control of the game. Regardless of the less than dominant performance by McFadden, he still was the “RUNNER-UP” and with Tebow winning the award, you would think he would shine against a team who’s struggled to be consistent all year and has a lot of turmoil surrounding them and their departing coach.

It wasn’t to be.Why?

Although Tebow is flashy, flamboyant and talented, he is not a true quarterback. He looks to run the ball first to set up the pass which worked last year when the Gators had a true quarterback in Chris Leak starting and could bring Tebow off the bench to give their offense a different look and could confuse opposing defenses.

Not this year. Coach Urban Meyer and the Gators needed to utilize a true running back to execute the ground attack and not use Tebow to try and run and pass the ball. I guess the reality for the Gators is Tebow is underdeveloped as a passer and is more suited or comfortable as a runner.

The previous season, Troy Smith won the award primarily as a pocket passer but the only thing you hear about him is the lost to The Gators last year and all the reasons why he is not an NFL quarterback.

Not an NFL quarterback? Just ask The Pittsburgh Steelers (after losing to him and The Baltimore Ravens) if he is an NFL quarterback. The biggest issue with Tebow is not his performance in a insignificant Capital One Bowl, but the irony that surrounds him.

The irony is the true running back is McFadden who had a phenomenal year for the Arkansas Razorbacks but a quarterback who ran first and passed second won college footballs biggest prize.

The other irony is the Gators won a national title with a maligned quarterback who had so little confidence from his coach, they showed great confidence and decided to give playing time to Tebow, but couldn’t win their own conference (The SEC) let alone a national title with the same player they showed such confidence to the previous season.

The biggest irony is Urban Meyer wants and allows Tebow to play exactly the way some African American quarterbacks in college and the NFL play but why is Tebow considered a great quarterback and the African American QB’s considered just athletes?

In both cases, they use there legs to make plays WHEN NEEDED but Tebow is considered smart or making a smart play while African American quarterbacks are considered to be improvising?

The answer is clear and indisputable both with Urban Meyer and the Gators and coaches alike who see color in ability, leadership and apply their bigotry accordingly.

It’s like the old Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird comparison. Magic was the flashy athletic point guard while Bird was the solid thinking man. I guess athleticism beats intelligence since Magic won five crowns while Bird won three right?

Bottom line, no matter how well African American quarterbacks perform in college or The NFL, the stereotypical mentality will continue to exist in the sports world because human nature sometimes is ignorance, bigotry and entitlement.

Entitlement Tebow was fortunate to have in winning The Heisman Trophy with the same formula of some of the best African American quarterbacks in college and The NFL.

The old saying is “don’t hate the player, hate the game” and I understand and agree but the game is overwhelmingly beneficial to the player whether he wanted reaps the benefits or not. Did Tim Tebow deserve The Heisman Trophy?

That’s debatable but the double standard of his play and the circumstances surrounding him are not.

The struggle continues.